Roundup: ESPN, Fox, and Warner Bros combine for sports streamer, Snap hits 414m active users


Moscow confirms Putin interview, TV ratings, The Front Bar, NRL, Vince McMahon

Business of Media

Moscow confirms Putin interview with Tucker Carlson

The Russian president, Vladimir Putin, granted an interview to the US television host Tucker Carlson on Tuesday, the Kremlin said, claiming it was arranged because Carlson’s approach differs from the one-sided reporting of many traditional western news media, reports The Guardian’s Richard Luscombe, Chris Michael, and Andrew Roth.

The interview was likely to be aired on Thursday, according to Russia’s Tass news agency, citing reports by the Wall Street Journal.

Speculation had been growing for days that Carlson, who was dumped by Fox last year for “getting too big for his boots”, had traveled to the Russian capital to meet Putin, whose reasons for invading Ukraine he says should be heard by the American public.

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Snap hits 414m active users, losses narrow to $248m for latest quarter

One day after announcing plans to reduce its workforce by 10 percent, Snap Inc. reported fourth-quarter 2023 earnings that mostly beat Wall Street expectations, reports The Hollywood Reporter’s Alex Weprin.

The tech company, led by CEO Evan Spiegel, reported revenue of $1.36 billion in Q4, up 5 percent compared to the same quarter last year. It also reported a net loss of $248 million in the quarter, compared to $288 million a year earlier.

Daily active users were 414 million, and the company says that its AI-powered subscription service Snapchat+ now has 7 million subscribers.

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Why did TV shows return to coding as a single entry in TV ratings?

Amongst one of the welcome changes in the new-look television ratings is the removal of ‘split-coding’ for Seven News, Nine News, The Project, The Chase and more. Now most shows are coding as a single entry in line with their EPG and playout, reports TV Tonight.

There are still some exceptions including in Breakfast television, and where two half hour shows screen as a one hour double.

But what triggered the change, which began on January 1st?

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Pat Cash, Luc Longley and Cathy Freeman take their turn at The Front Bar

Three footy fans in a pub having a beer talking about sport. Andy Maher admits that when the idea for The Front Bar was initially being pitched it was a tough sell, reports Nine Publishing’s John Mangan.

“When they first heard about the concept, I think most people were saying well you’re not going to make that work,” says Maher. “Three blokes who’ve never played the game sitting around a front bar talking about it, how can you make that interesting?”

But when the three people are seasoned AFL broadcaster Maher, comedian and star of Crackerjack Mick Molloy, and Logies host Sam Pang, think again. The show, which started out streaming on the AFL website, is now a staple of the Seven programming slate.

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Sports Media

How you stream sports is about to be transformed by a blockbuster media deal

It’s one small step for sports kind. Disney’s ESPN, Fox, and Warner Bros. Discovery on Tuesday announced a new sports-streaming venture that promises to make life easier for consumers who are frustrated with all the platforms they have to sign up for to watch their favorite teams play, reports The Wall Street Journal’s Isabella Simonetti and Amol Sharma.

The as-yet-unnamed service will bring together in one streaming package all the content those companies offer—from the NFL, NBA, NHL and MLB to college basketball and football. Plenty of consumers will find that appealing. But before you get too excited, there is some fine print to be aware of, from pricing to availability of the content you love.

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NRL shuffles the deck on the eve of Vegas

What does it say about an organisation starting a restructure one month out from one of its most ambitious projects? Nothing good, reports Nine Publishing’s Mark Di Stefano.

NRL chief executive Andrew Abdo began telling staff – frantically preparing the opening round in Las Vegas – on Tuesday that some of his direct reports were leaving.

The game’s executive general manager of strategy, Andrew Every, had found another gig, while Jaymes Boland-Rudder, who some insiders saw as a potential CEO successor, was also heading for the exit. With the NRL’s communications chief Grant Williams also departing to set up his own PR consultancy, Abdo was losing nearly half his executive team in one go.

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How Vince McMahon got TKO’d

When Vince McMahon stepped into the New York Stock Exchange on Jan. 23, he was on hand to celebrate what was supposed to be a triumph for TKO Group Holdings, the company for which he was executive chairman, and the owner of the WWE, the wrestling promotion that McMahon turned into a multibillion-dollar business, reports The Hollywood Reporter’s Alex Weprin.

Earlier that morning the WWE announced a blockbuster 10-year, $5 billion deal with Netflix to stream Raw in the U.S. and almost all of its other live programming in other markets around the world. And Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, one of the WWE’s biggest stars — turned global movie star — was set to ring the opening bell, in connection with an agreement to join TKO’s board of directors.

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